Do you ever find yourself stuck in a negative place, worrying that things won't get any better (or even that they will get worse)? Or, have you ever had things going so well in your life that you just knew it wouldn't last? If you're anything like me and most of the people I know and work with, your answer to both of these questions is, of course, "yes."
Many of us seem to forget that there is a natural ebb and flow to life, especially when things get challenging, stressful, or scary. Right now, there is a lot of agreement in our world about how "bad" things are -- particularly in relation to the economy. And while I do believe it is essential for us to confront things in life directly and not put our heads in the sand, it seems that many of us (myself included at times) tend to forget an important truth about life...this too shall pass.
Ironically, this same phenomenon is also true when things are "good." Life always evolves and changes; nothing stays constant. We waste so much of our precious time and energy worrying about things, instead of appreciating and embracing them in the moment. Worrying that bad times won't pass (which they almost always do) or that good times won't last (which they almost never do) takes us out of the present moment and causes us to suffer, miss out, or both.
You or some of the people around you may be experiencing significant pain or challenge right now -- based on the economic situation or other factors. Or, you may currently be experiencing a great deal of success, opportunity, and joy in your life. At some level, most of us experience a certain amount of real joy and real pain all the time, simultaneously.
Whatever our current experience of life may be, it always serves us to remember that things are in a constant state of flux and that whatever is going on in our lives right now, will pass. As difficult as this is for each of us to remember, especially when we're scared, it can be a powerful reminder and an important mantra that we hold onto and share with others as a way to keep things in perspective.
Here are a few things you can do to enhance your ability to stay present, grounded, and grateful - regardless of the external circumstances in your life.
1) Count Your Blessings - Whatever is going on in your life - no matter how "good" or "bad" things may seem; there are always many things for us to be grateful for. Take some time right now to think about or write down some of the many blessings in your life. And, as a bonus - share them with others today and this week.
2) Support Others - Reminding others that things can and will get better (if they're tough) and that it's important to appreciate and enjoy what is happening (if things are going well), is a great way to remind ourselves, get out of our own head, and be in service. When we support others, we also support ourselves in a healthy and generous way. And, our authentic support of other people helps make sure we don't spend and waste time feeling sorry for ourselves or getting too caught up in our own narcissism.
3) Reflect on Your Past in a Positive Way - Think back to times in your own life when you've overcome challenges and/or created great success and fulfillment. Remembering that we've had tough times and risen above them and that we've been able to appreciate ourselves, our lives, and our success - can help us remember how strong and capable we are in the present moment. Allow your past to empower you!
Mike Robbins is a motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Hardcover, Wiley) and the forthcoming book Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Hardcover, Wiley, April 13, 2009). More info - www.BeYourselfBook.com